Last week, we got the chance to talk to our very own Phi Kappa Psi Voice contestant! Chris Jamison Capital '12 auditioned for NBC's The Voice earlier this year, and his "four chair turn" audition performance of John Mayer's "Gravity" aired September 30th. On October 3rd, Chris gave us the scoop on his Voice experience thus far!
Tune in TONIGHT, October 13th at 8/7c (and every Monday and Tuesday) to see Chris compete for Team Adam!
What has your experience on the Voice been like so far?
So far it's been crazy, obviously. I started the whole process a while ago, so it's been a long process. I think throughout the whole thing, I kind of never went into anything expecting anything in return because I didn't want to get my hopes up or be let down. I just didn't want to expect anything out of this because of how big of an opportunity it was and how many people try to take advantage of something like this.
So I went through the audition process. I initially sent in a video, they called after they saw the video, and then I went to Philadelphia for a call back audition. After that, it kind of all skyrocketed into this crazy experience. I hadn't really watched the show regularly in the past couple of seasons, but I remember watching the first season. My mom watched the show a lot, so sometimes I would sit down with her. Before I was even a part of it, my mom would say, "Hey! You should try out for this. I can definitely see you up on that stage singing."
And I kind of just shrugged it off because I never expected to do anything like this. So now that the other day I'm watching myself on TV actually on that stage and singing a song, it's just a surreal and crazy experience.
What has been your favorite moment?
My favorite part so far was probably after the audition. I'm standing on that stage and looking after the chairs turned, and it's me on stage staring at these superstars that are in front of me. I listen to their music on the radio and buy their songs on iTunes, and now they're telling me what they liked about my voice and what they liked about my performance, and I'm getting feedback from people that have been in the music business for a very long time and are very well respected.
That was probably my favorite moment because regardless of what happens with this whole experience, the fact that I got to get feedback on my music and the fact that they liked my music and my singing voice really meant a lot. It's very validating too when you're hearing these things from them after working hard and trying to make something of your music, and then their telling you that what you're doing is great. It's really cool.
What did it feel like to have four major musical artists fight over you?
That's what's crazy about the whole thing. Normally, I'd be the one fighting to be on any one of their teams. So it's like the roles were reversed, and I have the choice of four superstars to pick as one of my coaches. The fact that the roles are reversed and I have this choice is kind of scary a little bit because you don't want to make the wrong choice. Not that there could really be a wrong choice because they're all obviously successful, and they know what they're doing because they are where they are today. I mean, the choice just really comes down to, in the moment, who connects with you the most and what fits you the most.
Before I went on stage, I told myself that I would pick Pharrell if he turned around, and that's kind of who I thought throughout this whole process that I'd end up going with. But once I got on stage and heard Adam's constructive criticism, some people might have been put off by that, but for me I've always been a part of performing groups, so I've always had constructive criticism as a performing arts thing, and I've always enjoyed it because that's how performers and artists are able to grow. You learn from your mistakes and you learn from other people's advice. When Adam was giving me constructive criticism, I kind of felt like he was already coaching me, and it felt like the right choice to go with him.
What has Adam been like as a coach? Are there any specific things he's asked you to work on in the meantime before the Battle Rounds begin?
We haven't really had a lot of interaction yet, but from what he said in the Blind Audition, I think the biggest thing was that he said he loved everything that I did, and he really felt the emotion of everything in the performance, but that what he thought was that there was a little bit too much I added to it and a little bit too much going on vocally. He said that if I pull that back a little bit and did 85% of what I did on stage that he would see that as a big improvement and that would be helpful to my performance. I'm just looking forward to hearing more of his thoughts on performance and how you incorporate the whole performance aspect of the show into singing a song. To be honest, I'm just thrilled at the opportunity to get to even spend more time with him. It's really exciting.
Beyond yourself, who are you cheering for this season?
I really don't have any because all of the contestants on the show, we're all friends with each other. We've all spent a lot of time together and gotten to know each other really well, so I think we're all rooting for each other. That's what I like the most about this whole opportunity. At the end of the day, it's still a competition, but we're all still rooting for each other. It doesn't have that competitive feel to it. We all just want each other to be successful.
I'm friends with a lot of the people on the show. When we see each other on the show, we're all texting each other and we're just all excited. Number one, this is a huge opportunity. The fact that I even got to be on that stage and sing a song is just incredible and a moment that I'll never forget.
What are some songs you'd like to tackle on the show this season?
As far as music goes, the whole reason for me going on this show was to figure out the music I should be singing or the sound I should have and where I fit in to the whole huge music business and world. I think that after doing the audition and everything, I'd like to have more of a soulful sound to the music I create. Some of the artists I use for influence on the show and in general are Allen Stone, a little bit of John Mayer, and I kind of like the old school sound too, like Otis Redding. I kind of want to incorporate that older soulful kind of music and give it a modern twist. So I think that's the direction I'm headed in, and I hope I get to showcase that on the show.
What has been the best moment since your audition?
I think there have been two things that have been, for lack of a better word, "crazy" for me. One was seeing my song on the iTunes charts, and at one point it was on the overall iTunes chart. Even though there are 200 songs, your name is around Justin Timberlake and Beyoncé songs, and it's crazy. I would have never imagined seeing one of my songs on the iTunes charts, let alone next to names like Justin Timberlake.
So that was one of the craziest things, and the other one was actually when Allen Stone tweeted at me and said, "Thanks for the shout out during the show." That was pretty cool because I'm a big fan of Allen Stone. The fact that he sent me a little tweet, it was a little thing, but it still meant a lot. That was really cool.
What has your Phi Psi Experience been like? Why did you join Phi Psi, and how has it impacted your life?
The experience so far has been great. I originally joined kind of on a whim. I wasn't planning on it. I joined the fall of my freshman year right when everybody got to school. I wasn't planning on doing that when I first got to school because I kind of wanted to play it out and see how things worked out. But I'm originally from Pittsburgh, and Capital's obviously in Ohio, so I was around new people and didn't know anyone.
My roommate and I thought it would be beneficial to go and learn more about the fraternities on campus. I actually remember going to an organizational fair where all of the fraternities were set up in a circle, and we went up to the Phi Psi table and talked with members of the Fraternity at the time. Right when we went to the table, that's the one I felt the most connection with and the one that I felt the most comfortable with just talking to and learning more about the Fraternity and the school in general.
My roommate and I went back to our room and discussed it, and we figured it would be a great experience. We didn't have many friends, and what better way to make friends than through this organization. There's the service aspect as well, and you get 46, or however many there were at the time, brothers and best friends. That was the main reason why I joined the Fraternity.
Throughout everything musically, my roommate and I have performed a lot at different venues in Ohio, and I've had different shows at restaurants and stuff. They are always coming out and being supportive, and they're always taking the time, no matter how crazy everyone's schedule is, somehow there's always one or two Phi Psis in the audience supporting us. It's been a great experience.
And you know, even throughout this whole thing, everyone from Capital, including all the Phi Psi's from Capital, they're all tweeting, messaging and sending me text messages encouraging me. It's really overwhelming and great knowing that you have so many people behind you supporting you.
And not only from Capital! Since the whole news about me auditioning for the show came out, Phi Psi's from all around, including the Headquarters, will tweet at me and stuff like that. It's just been a great experience.
How has Phi Kappa Psi prepared you for your Voice experience?
The main thing that a lot of us talk about at our chapter, and I guess in Phi Psi in general, is "others before yourself." So I have not lost focus and don't plan on losing focus of the important things in life. I think Phi Psi has helped me to keep myself on track and recognize the things that are important including the Fraternity, family, friends and stuff like that, especially with all of the support they've given me so far.
I plan on doing my very best to uphold Phi Psi's image and to make sure that when people find out that I'm a Phi Psi that I represent our whole Fraternity well and that I am hopefully who they want to be representing their Fraternity.
A lot of Brothers are now tuning into the Voice, is there anything you would like to say to them?
I would just like to say thank you for the support. I see all of those tweets, and I read and share them. I'll go over to my mom and be like, "Oh! The Phi Psi Foundation just tweeted at me!" It's cool! All of these people are supporting me, and it just means a lot! I look forward to hopefully making Phi Psi and everyone else that's rooting for me proud!